How buying the first second-hand car can get you paranoid

Sunny Lam posted in Jdm

23w ago


It's been a while since I've written an update on my family's second-hand Toyota Vellfire, which is a van with a 280bhp engine, rightfully nicknamed the 'Supervan', as it seats seven and does 0-60 in under 8 seconds.

The problem with this van is that from Day 1, I have this mission to save it. The previous owner was the sort of guy that'd flick his cigar in his car, hence a big hole in the third-row seat of all places. The plastic in the boot was all scratched up, the carpet has a literal hole, and all of the body panels are mismatched. The odometer has been clocked, the battery that the dealer put pn it was so small that it can power nothing but the stereo. Hell even the windscreen and all the side windows are from different manufacturers. It was one of those cars that I knew had problems, but didn't know I had this much problem until you actually own it. It's terrifying.

Time and time again I'd get this feeling that something's bound to go wrong. When I bought the car I thought the car rode too soft, it was wobbling all over the place. Turns out the shocks were weeping. Nevertheless, this has gave me 'some' confidence that I am at least somewhat knowledgeable in diagnosing a car. What I didn't know, however, is I've pulled open the floodgate where I'd be paranoid at every sound the car makes.

For instance, I've gotten mad at this knocking sound coming from the rear-end. I know it's not from the shocks as they're genuine TRD shocks and freshly put on. So I thought it was the bushings, or even a loose bolt. I've had sleepless nights about how I should tell the mechanic what that sound is. Because, as you'd imagine, those evil noise will never appear when the mechanic is test driving. So I got desperate. I pulled the rear wheels, shook the whole car by leaning my entire body on the side of it. I tried everything and still I ran out of adjectives. At the end, me and my mechanic ran out of ideas and decide to name it a 'character' of the car and left it there.

Then the car started rattling when I rolled down the window on a washboard surface. The noise was, again, from the back. I even bent down on my knees on a dirty street to see what's wrong. I thought the exhaust had been shaken loose on those bumpy potholes in Hong Kong. I thought it was there was a yobbo that stuck something on my car / undid something to annoy me. Yea I went to that extent. At the end it was a loose metal spare wheel carrier under the car. Bugger that.

The air con too was a havoc on its own. I once opened the bonnet to check if my alternator was broken(yes it was), and saw water on a metal hose next to the valve that is used to fill refrigerant into the air con. I was like 'what the hell aren't those condensed water from the system? Shouldn't they be down under the car and not on this pipe?' So I asked around, and got paranoid as it was an expensive repair you know. Turns out it's an inexplicable scientific phenomenon that nobody wants to know that happened on my car. In short, I got too paranoid.

Of course, you can call me a mechanically absentminded imbecile that knows precisely nothing about cars. But, no doubt the car did give me a certain degree of illness over the past year. I really really want to sell it, but everything I stepped on it on a highway and hearing that V6 growl, everything was worth it. All those sleepless nights, bad dreams and horrible illusion about the car breaking down just disappeared. Everything just clicks.

But no doubt, I'll sell this barge one day. If anybody wants a broken, mismatched, whingey, noisy land yacht, please inbox me. Would take any reasonable offers.